Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti Review: The $700 780-Titan Middleman Cometh

Back in May, I reviewed the GTX 780 for Game Front. The $649 card was, and still is, an absolute screamer. It can handle any game you throw its way at 1920×1080 or higher, more often than not at 60-plus frames per second. The GTX 780, like every single-GPU flagship card before it, was for PC gaming enthusiasts with money to burn.

But things have changed since the release of the GTX 780, particularly in the last month. Nvidia has slashed GPU prices across the board, and AMD has released its new R9 line of GPUs. While many cards in the R7 and R9 families are rebadged Radeon 7000 series cards, the R9 290 and R9 290X are wholly new offerings from AMD.

Where the GTX 780 originally had one rival from AMD at the $500-plus price point, it now has three.

In response to the new AMD offerings, Nvidia has taken two steps to shore up its high-end GPU strategy. For starters, it dropped the price of the GTX 780 from $649 to $499. The GTX 770 followed suit, dropping to $329 from $449. Second, and this is the focal point of today’s review: Nvidia is releasing the GTX 780 Ti. This re-imagining of the GTX 700 series flagship is meant to be the 290x fighter. In Nvidia’s own words: “Quite simply, it’s the best gaming GPU on the planet.”

Does the GTX 780 Ti live up to the hype? How does it stack up against the now-cheaper GTX 780 and GTX 770? That’s where we’re going to find out.

Design and Power: Same Chassis, New-ish Guts

The GTX 780 Ti could also be called the GTX 780 XL. It’s the same card, simply with more cores in the chip. It’s not a massive overhaul or redesign — this isn’t like going from the 400 series to the 500 series, or 500 to 600, and so on. It’s like Ford took a V8 Mustang, welded two more cylinders onto the engine block, and managed to fit the massive engine in the same pony chassis. In short: It’s the full, unfettered version of the GK110 chip found in the Titan and the GTX 780.

Speaking of the chassis, the only way you can tell the difference between the GTX 780 and 780 Ti is the etched badge on the end of the card. Both GPUs look identical, from the port layout on the front, to the blower-style fan at the rear. They are brothers in every sense of the word.

The differences between the GTX 780 and 780 Ti are all on the side, and there are several big differences to talk about. For starters, the 780 Ti has 25 percent more cores at its disposal — 2,880 versus 2,304 on the GTX 780. The added CUDA cores are on a chip that’s built on the same 28nm process, resulting in a similarly sized die (533 mmversus 533 mm2 on the original 780). The reason the chip isn’t bigger — smaller, in fact — is because the standard 780 has much of the added hardware found on the 780 Ti. It’s simply disabled.

Cores and dies aside, the GTX 780 Ti also has the faster 7 Gbps memory found in the GTX 770 (the memory on the 780 is 6 Gbps), although it’s still the same amount (3 GB GDDR5) coupled with the same interface (384-bit). Combining Nvidia’s fastest gaming GPU with its fastest memory results in Nvidia’s fastest, most capable gaming GPU to date. While the $1,000 Titan will still best the GTX 780 Ti in some non-gaming tests and applications, the GTX 780 Ti should be the fastest gaming option currently available from Nvidia.

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4 Comments on Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti Review: The $700 780-Titan Middleman Cometh

SupremeAllah

On November 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

I’ve been looking to upgrade again. But these price points on video cards are just painful. This is what happens when the competition just stops trying.

AMD has been dragging their feet as far as top-end performance goes. At this point they’re just the “value” option. Because of that, Nvidia stands at the top with no challenge, and has no justification to drop their prices to reasonable levels.

I haven’t used an Nvidia GPU since the Geforce 3. Not that I ever had a problem with them, that card was durable and lasted ages while being highly overclocked. But I had switched to AMD to try something new, and had stuck with them since. However, performance wise they just don’t bother to compete anymore, so I will likely go Nvidia once again unless AMD starts to give a damn and actually try to compete with the top Nvidia offerings like they used to.

Patrick

On November 8, 2013 at 1:50 am

You do realise that the 780 Ti is faster than the Titan, right? You seem to imply that it’s not.

Devin Connors

On November 8, 2013 at 9:38 am

@Patrick
I cleaned up the language a bit in a few parts, and added some clarification. The GTX 780 Ti is definitely a faster gaming GPU, but the Titan is faster in other tasks (mostly supercomputing jobs, and tests that rely heavily on double-precision cores.

-Devin Connors

Evernessince

On November 8, 2013 at 10:18 am

@SupremeAllah

Have you even looked at any of the reviews lately?

AMD has more than competed on the enthusiast level with Nvidia over the years, especially now. Nvidia didn’t just slash the prices of all their cards a week ago to be nice, AMD had and still has the most powerful single gpu solution.

Before you come out spouting that AMD does not compete, maybe you should figure out the market a little bit. It’s pure ignorance that one cannot google gpu benchmarks or gpu hierarchy before hand.

Never Settle Bundle? Mantle? TrueAudio? Ring a bell?